Ibaka explains what makes Raptors unique ahead of NBA Finals
Serge Ibaka hailed the uniqueness and togetherness of the Toronto Raptors as they prepare for the NBA Finals.
The Raptors will face two-time reigning champions the Golden State Warriors in the Finals, starting Thursday.
Toronto advanced to the Finals for the first time in their history after seeing off the Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks.
And Raptors forward Ibaka marvelled at how unique the team are in comparison to groups he has played with in the past.
"This is a special group," Ibaka told Yahoo Sports after practice on Tuesday. "Very special. Our togetherness.
"Everybody really cares about the team. You don't really have guys with egos here. Even guys who don't play, you see them cheering for the team, that's good.
"When things go wrong, we don't point fingers. We talk, we watch film and get better."
Ibaka, 29, will make his second NBA Finals appearance against the Warriors at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday.
The last time he reached the championship series was in 2012 as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. From there he bounced to Orlando before being traded to Toronto in 2017, which revived his career.
"Man, after seven years, it seemed like most people thought it was over for me," Ibaka said. "But I always believed. I always put in the work. A lot of guys in the league have never seen the NBA Finals. This is my second time. I am so thankful."
Ibaka averaged 15.0 points and 8.1 rebounds during his second full season with the Raptors in 2018-19. While his numbers have dropped in the playoffs, he acknowledged that change is necessary to help his team win.
"The sacrifices were not easy," Ibaka said. "But you make those sacrifices and you say everything is about the team. Now the sacrifices are paying off."